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Local federal law enforcement bracing for sequester

By Paula Akana
Published On: Feb 27 2013 07:08:45 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 27 2013 09:40:38 PM HST

Federal law enforcement officials in Hawaii are keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill.

HONOLULU -

Federal law enforcement employees in Hawaii are keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill.  They could be feeling the squeeze soon when might be forced to take some unwanted days off.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has about 200 employees in Hawaii, including FBI agents, analysts and support staff.

They each face 14 furlough days between May and September if a Capitol Hill compromise isn't reached.

FBI spokesman Tom Simon says that means 12 percent less time on the job.

"As a result, the Hawaii FBI will be forced to do less with criminal, cyber and national security investigations in Hawaii," said Simon.

Across the state, federal law enforcement officials are making contingency plans.

At the Federal Detention Center near the Honolulu International Airport, those being detained should not see any changes.

Officials there say every employee is a fully-trained corrections officer so they will all pitch in when needed.

"For us right now, we're kinda reactive," said U.S. Marshal Gervin Miyamoto.  "We do have a plan, but we don't want to overcompensate and try to scrounge later on.  So, we just try to work out contingency.  We'll be OK."

U.S. Marshals transport prisoners from that detention center and federal court and secure them at federal court.  They are part of a multi-agency fugitive task force.  They also jumped in to help state and city law enforcement last week when suspected murderer Teddy Munet fled from corrections officers at Circuit Court.

Miyamoto says they're prepared to deal with furloughs and says a lot of it will depend on how the courts handle the trial schedules.

Simon says their office, too, will deal with cuts should they come, but he fears something, or someone, will fall through the cracks.

"I hope we are able to do what we can do," said Simon.  "But, realistically, you just can't take that many law enforcement officers off the streets without seeing an effect."

Simon says the sequestration would also freeze hires and they would not be able to fill the positions of retiring FBI agents.

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